Landers: Velvet Shedding Rapidly In Wyoming

Rut Reporter Rich Landers, a native Montanan and life-long hunter, is the outdoors editor for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane. He has written several books about the western outdoors and has hunted whitetails all his life. States covered: WA, OR, ID, MT, WY, CO.

In Wyoming, whitetail bucks are still on feed patterns, according to Brian Beisher of Big Buck Outfitters based in Sheridan. Two weeks ago, about 20 percent of the bucks he saw were out of velvet. The number rose to about 80 percent a few days later.

"The first of September seems to be a trigger to get rid of velvet," he said.

In Oregon, only limited hunting is allowed on Columbian white-tailed deer, but the photo above by Roseberg-area deer watcher Jim Johnson indicates why hunters apply for the two-dozen or so permits offered in Douglas County.

Columbian whitetails are among 30 subspecies of white-tailed deer in North America, and the only one found west of the Cascade Mountains. Columbians were listed as an endangered species in 1968, but they've recovered enough to be spreading and showing up on the walls and dinner tables of a few lucky sportsmen.

Going into this week, most of the Western Oregon whitetails were still in full velvet, but had just started to rub.